Capt. Alister McGregor was shot by a fellow officer with a rifle as a 12-member SWAT team staged a mock hostage situation on a school bus, said Police Chief Gary Dias.
McGregor was a 16-year veteran of the East Providence police force who had recently been promoted to Captain. He was commander of the SWAT team and had organized the training exercise that led to his death, Dias said.
"It's just a tragic accident that should've never happened," Dias said Thursday.
Dias said police haven't determined why live ammunition was being used but said a gun may have been introduced into the drill after all the other weapons had been checked.
The state police and the attorney general's office are investigating, which is routine in friendly fire incidents, according to Deputy Attorney General Jerry Coyne.
The officer who shot McGregor has not been identified. Dias said he is a 5-year veteran who served in the military before joining the force.
He was so distraught over the shooting that he had to be sedated and hospitalized, Dias said. He was later released.
Dias said the SWAT team officers were all seasoned veterans and such drills are staged at least once per month. Most have a military background, he added.
A similar accident occurred June 7 in Arlington, Texas, when police Cpl. Joseph Cushman was accidentally shot to death by a fellow SWAT officer during a training session at a junior high school.
Cushman, an instructor, had volunteered to demonstrate that a plastic safety helmet he was wearing would deflect a fake bullet. But authorities said a fellow officer pulled a loaded 9 mm semiautomatic weapon from his holster instead of picking up a handgun loaded with fake ammunition and shot Cushman in the head.
By Richard Lewis © MMI The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed